I work with many small business owners, and the number one complaint I hear is that they “Don’t have enough time” to focus on their website, to write digital content or promote their business. Oftentimes, business owners have a hard time asking for help. It is in the spirit of entrepreneurs to try to do it all, at the same time. Effective delegation is vital for great leadership, even the most organized, super CEO needs help and support. Here are some ideas on how to effectively delegate tasks so you can focus on more important things.
When Should You Delegate?
- You aren’t getting all of your work done in a timely manner – The first sign is when items sit on your list week after week. Many times I meet with my clients and they give me the guilt laden spiel about how they are “just so busy.” I understand that you are busy, we all are. To fix that, you have two options; limit your commitments, or ask for help.
- You are focusing on tasks below or above your skill level – If you’re a business owner who spends time answering the phone or sweeping the floors, keep in mind time = money. By delegating these easy tasks, you could be working on something more meaningful to help the business succeed. I’ve also seen this go the other way, a business owner who is really excited about a specific initiative. The president will struggle with something outside their wheelhouse, meanwhile there are others on staff who are already educated about best practices. If you notice yourself making mistakes, or spending a lot of time learning, it might be time to ask for help.
- You are just not interested – It’s normal to have areas of your business that you find more interesting than others. If you are skipping tasks simply because you have no interest in learning about that area, it might be time to delegate.
- You are experiencing burn out – Even small business owners need a break. If you are finding yourself stressed and over loaded, it might be time to re-evaluate your work processes. By delegating tasks to others, you can take some time to relax and recharge your batteries.
Who To Ask?
- Seek Help Internally – Do you already have an engineer or specialist on staff? Delegate the task to your specialist. If that person is already an expert in the field they will be able to complete that task much faster, which will in turn, save everyone time and energy. What if this person already has a full plate? Alternatively, you could ask this person to work with you to complete the task. Ask to sit down together and have a brainstorming or Q and A session. Either tape record the conversation or come to them with questions prepared.
- Hire an Intern – If you have easy tasks to delegate, look into hiring an intern. Many college students need credits to complete their degree, which would be a win-win for you if you’re on a budget. The only time I would NOT recommend an intern is if the task is complicated or technical. If it is going to take you 6 months to teach the person, you’d be better off hiring part time help.
- Add A Part Time Position – If you have a group of tasks that need attention, you might want to consider hiring someone part time. Bringing someone on for a few days a week, or a few hours a day would allow you to delegate tasks slowly. You get a chance to learn about this person’s strengths and weaknesses and delegate the tasks accordingly. A client of mine recently hired a part time marketing manager to help organize their website content. She was a stay at home mother who was looking to go back to work a few days a week. The arrangement has been working well for both my client and the new employee.
- Outsource Where You Can – If your internal resources are tapped and you’re not in a position to hire an extra employee, you should consider outsourcing. Thanks to the internet, you can outsource just about anything these days. Clients of mine have used Textbroker as a resource for content development, and Upwork for admin assistant. My colleague Mike Farney recently wrote a post about why you should outsource your SDS Compliance, great read if you are a manufacturer and need to meet the OSHA deadline before June 1st.
For more tips on when, why, or how to delegate, read some of my favorite posts below. Let us know if you have tried any of these tactics in the comments section below.